- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 27, 2001

YEREVAN, Armenia (AP) Pope John Paul II paid his respects yesterday to the vast number of Armenians who perished under Ottoman rule, lamenting such "inhumanity" while taking care not to term the events genocide.
The frail pontiff, with aides nearby at all times to help him walk, prayed at a monument to the Armenian dead and deposited a red rose at the eternal flame.
"We are appalled by the terrible violence done to the Armenian people and dismayed that the world still knows such inhumanity," the pope said in his prayer at the Tsitsernagaberd memorial complex on a hill overlooking the Armenian capital.
He spoke while sitting at the eternal flame, flanked by the Armenian Apostolic Church's leader, Catholicos Karekin II, and a phalanx of priests in black robes and cowls.
The complex commemorates the estimated 1.5 million people that Armenia says were victims of genocide in a 1915-23 campaign to force them out of eastern Turkey.
Turkey says the death count is inflated, and that Armenians were killed or displaced along with others as the Ottoman Empire tried to quell civil unrest.
The pope previously had termed the deaths genocide, but had not declared any party responsible. Yesterday, he delicately skirted the issue, delivering his prayer in English.
"Listen, O Lord, to the lament that rises from this place, to the call of the dead from the depths of the Metz Yeghern," he said, using the Armenian phrase to refer to the deaths. "Yeghern" means both "genocide" and "crime" in Armenian.

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